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Unread April 15th, 2006, 04:39 PM
Carey N Carey N is offline
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 138
Default Re: Pinker's Blank Slate

I think the bottom line, Carey, is that these arguments ultimately boil down to whether you believe there indeed is such a thing as “objective truth,” whether objective truth exists (and perhaps also whether we humans can know it); or whether you believe there is only subjective “truth,” whether there are only subjective, mental and/or social constructs.
I agree with you entirely on the matter of universal, objective, mathematical truths. They can be proven unequivocally and they remain true whether humans are here to appreciate them or not.

But moral truths don't work that way . . . do you think that there will ever be a formal, undeniable proof that it's wrong to steal stuff from your neighbors? Of course not . . . the word "wrong" doesn't even make any sense without a huge amount of information about the social environment. Without people, there's no social environment. Without social environments, there's no such thing as morality.

Once one see the reality of objective mathematical truth, and it’s necessity to do science, the leap to objective beauty, and perhaps even objective morality, is not so difficult
Whoa, whoa . . . whoa. How on earth does the truth of objective morality follow from the objective truth of mathematics!? EVERYTHING about morality is context-dependent, the exact opposite of mathematical truths, which are valid no matter what the context.

There's an enormous difference between a mathematical proof for objective moral truths (never going to happen) and a genius mathematiciain remarking that he believes in the presence of a higher power.
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